'Critical Role' Levels Up, Returns to Full Strength in New Episode

Critical Role is almost back to its full cast, as the show dealt with the aftermath of last weekend's live show.

Laura Bailey and Travis Willingham both returned to Critical Role after a month away from the show, a result of the couple having a baby. Bailey and Willingham's characters Jester and Fjord were "written" out of the popular Dungeons & Dragons-themed show as having been captured by a group of slavers.

As a result of Jester and Fjord's disappearance, the rest of the party (known as the Mighty Nein) went on a desperate mission to rescue them, which resulted in the death of Mollymauk Tealeaf, a character played by Taliesin Jaffe. The mission culminated in a ferocious battle during last week's live show, in which Jester and Fjord were rescued and the slavers - which were led by an oni named Lorenzo - were killed.

This week's episode of Critical Role dealt mostly with the party tying up a few loose ends in Shady Creek Run and giving Mollymauk a final sendoff. Jester and Fjord both had a chance to say goodbye to their departed friend and Fjord consumed Molly's magical sword - an ability granted to him by his mysterious warlock pact. Molly's golden sword was incorporated into Fjord's distinctive falchion - the symbol of his hexblade pact. The group also said goodbye to Keg (a guest character played by Ashly Burch) and Yasha (the party's barbarian, played by Ashley Johnson, who is currently filming the NBC series Blindspot.) Yasha's farewell at Molly's grave was particularly touching - the two had history together and Yasha stormed off into the wilderness to grieve on her own.

The Mighty Nein also earned a fair amount of gold for their efforts and gained a few new interesting items, including an elemental gem and a new bag of holding. We also found out that Caleb learned Leomund's tiny hut, a result of him leveling up to Level 6, and that Caduceus (Taliesin Jaffe's new character) has a special cantrip called decompose that can quicken the decomposition of corpses.

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While it wasn't an action-packed episode like last week, Critical Role was still a satisfying watch, filled with lots of character development and intrigue. DM Matthew Mercer dropped a heavy hint that Fjord's backstory could be explored soon, as a mysterious Captain (hinted to be Fjord's former boss) is searching for a pearl tied to Fjord's warlock patron that's currently in Fjord's possession. Next week's episode will feature a small timeskip, as the group experiences some downtime before proceeding to their next adventure.

New episodes of Critical Role air on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on Geek & Sundry's Twitch and Alpha. The episodes are then posted on YouTube the following Monday.